Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by Jason Harris
The Majesty of Christmas
Our family went to Six Flags Fiesta Texas a few nights ago. Every year they have a beautiful program we watch, “The Majesty of Christmas.” It’s full of beautiful songs about the birth of Jesus and a live nativity play with animals to include a donkey, sheep, and camel. This year, I really enjoyed it again but viewed it in a different light than years past. The performers were earnestly devoting themselves in worship, expounding the highest ideals of love, grace and mercy. Beautiful God qualities embodied in the archetype of Jesus that I believe have uplifted humanity and moved us forward on an evolutionary path. As I watched this play, I had feelings of warmth, gratitude, appreciation and joy inside.
The last few years I have been learning more about projections. A psychological tool we use to project internal experiences, emotions and thoughts external to ourselves. To not own that which originates inside of ourselves. These are unconscious.
It is common to project that which we view as negative in ourselves onto others around us. Carl Jung talks about this in his writings on shadow work. It may be easy for others to spot, but not for us to spot, because it is done unconsciously. A drastic example would be a cheating spouse accusing the other of cheating.
We also can project that which is positive within ourselves onto others. This is a large part of what happens when we “idolize” certain people, or even “fall in love.”
Our Projections (of God)
I believe humanity’s various concepts of God or Deity (myself included) are largely projections of that which resides within us. We “create” God(s) in our image. Certainly this can be projections onto external figures, some of them even historical. Still, I believe projections are at play. Many others throughout history have also thought this to include Sigmund Freud.
This isn’t to say our stories and projections of and about Divinity don’t reflect God…. just I don’t believe our projections necessarily represent external reality in a literal fashion, but rather reflect our own (both beautiful and damning) internal realities (to include our internal reality maps of our external world). Internal realities that I think are good to own as within us (or within our cultures).
My Concept of God
I believe God is everywhere and through everything and that everything (the universe at a minimum) is God. And thus we are all parts of the universe and parts of God, and that God resides within us (and everywhere else as well). I also believe God is Love and that love encompasses and is intertwined throughout all. In many ways my belief in God is similar to Spinoza’s, who contrary to what some claim viewed himself as both a spiritual person and one who believed in God.
What Projection Isn’t
Bringing up projection, some use this concept for New Age concepts that we “create our realities.” Do I buy into the notions that all of the reality around us is of our own making? That we “project our realities?” NO. I DO think we see the world to some degree how we are inside for sure and have a certain amount of influence on our external environment for sure. However, I think within each of us is represented only an infinitesimally small portion of the whole that is God.
None of us created everything around us. I believe we are mostly creations, but also to a small degree, co-creators. Valuable and miraculous. After all, everything had to go a certain way for over 13 billion years to result in each of us. Precious and priceless parts of systems much larger than ourselves. Children of God. Every moment in (and outside of) life is a God miracle. At least this is my belief.
The Evolution of God
I personally find beauty in the ways different cultures depict God(s). And I also see that which isn’t always so beautiful. Conceptions of God(s) have evolved over the course of humanity and I think will continue to evolve.
Robert Wright wrote an excellent well researched book on this, “The Evolution of God.” In it he convincingly demonstrates how humanity’s conception(s) of God have largely evolved over time in an increasingly more compassionate and more loving direction… just as humanity has done over time as well. God(s) in humanity’s image.
Perhaps the fact that humanity IS continuing to evolve and develop, that our morality over time is continuing to improve, is evidence of an underlying Divine mechanism at play… The God(s) and stories we tell projections of this progress.
There have also been casualties in this evolution though, to include the loss of prominent concepts of the “Divine Feminine” across much of the world, and with it the magnification of an unbalanced attendant patriarchy that is damaging unchecked.
The World is Getting Better
In mentioning how the concept(s) of God(s) have evolved over time, in many ways in a positive direction (despite some NOTABLE exceptions) I believe this mirrors the positive direction humanity has also evolved over all time (though also with some NOTABLE exceptions). This only makes sense to me if we think of our concepts of Divinity as projections of that which is within. There may be some who would argue against this saying the world is actually getting worse and worse. Part of this belief may be due to what is seen on the news cycles and part of it may be due to a need for the world to become worse and worse in order to fit a pre-conceived cataclysmic narrative (to fit “prophesy” etc).
Regardless, I believe the idea the world is worsening and becoming more evil over time is categorically and objectively false. This narrative is only supported by (dishonest) news and media portrayals that increasingly leave out the positive to almost solely report the negative. By measures such as health, violence, poverty, compassion, etc. the world is getting better over time overall. Has been for thousands of years. I realized this very powerfully a few years ago while watching Steven Pinker’s fact based presentation, “Is the World getting Better or Worse?”. If you also were raised with a belief and narrative that the “wicked world” is getting worse over time (as I was) I would encourage you to watch this presentation. If your experience is anything like mine was watching this, it may be a very healthy paradigm shifting experience.
A Path to Peace
I believe concepts of God(s) are projections of our inner worlds. Compassionately understanding this can be a Path to Peace.
Perhaps across humanity if we come to view our various myth stories of Divinity as projections of that which resides inside of ourselves… even something Divine within ourselves… we can be united in our various beliefs by this understanding.
This may be a path not only to peace between cultures, but perhaps a bridge to peace to past lives for those of us who once embraced literalism but no longer do. To embrace non-literal belief without necessarily condemning literalism. To view literalism in many instances not as the product of “deceptions” or “lies” but rather often as UNCONSCIOUS projections. Maintained and strengthened due to being reflections of INNER truths.
Perhaps fostering this belief can foster more grace and compassion within ourselves for ourselves, for our former selves and for others across the broad swaths of humanity. At least this has been my own experience on this path.
Our Six Flags Experience
Back to our experience at Six Flags… what I believed I was seeing during “The Majesty of Christmas” was people projecting their internal Divinity onto a story (or echoing a culture that does). Their own internal goodness that perhaps they aren’t prepared to accept or embrace or unable to do so. An internal Divinity that is within us all. An inner beauty that is projected differently in different cultures. Beautiful!
I felt united with the performers and felt tremendous gratitude and joy that they would share something so meaningful and special within their own hearts with me in such a touching way. I felt uplifted and wanted to more fully love my neighbor as I love myself. Divine Projections.
I believe humanity has evolved and will continue to evolve. I believe our concepts of God(s) are projections of what resides within us, both in the past and in the present. I believe as we continue to more fully evolve as a species, our Divine projections will also continue to evolve as will our understanding of these reflections of our inner world(s). As our societal understanding and compassion for that which is within increases, I believe our compassion, love and understanding for “others” will also increase.
A Path to Peace.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.1 Corinthians 13:8-12, KJV
Jason Harris lived as an orthodox Mormon for forty years. He writes about his experiences leaving the Mormon Church and reconstructing a new World-View. He believes all religions and scripture are man-made, potentially helpful and harmful. He believes there is Divinity in all of them and everywhere.